Monday, September 9, 2013

Hanging Up My Crown

Hello Monday!  How did you start your week?  I started mine the same as I always do: with a workout.  In fact, that's pretty much how I start every day.

I firmly believe we need to move our bodies in some way every day.  For me, it has to be first thing in the morning or I feel weird and fuzzy-headed...although after a few vodka drinks and a dance party this past Saturday night, I still felt a bit fuzzy headed after my spinning class Sunday morning.  Funny thing...

While my love of fitness never waivers, recently I've begun experimenting and changing things up a bit.

Although I may never become a Crossfitter, I like a lot of things about this grassroots fitness movement. For one, it fosters community.  A supportive social network is key to adhering to an exercise routine.  Second, it focuses on strength and fitness rather than physique.  Even for women, the mantra that defines it is, "Strong is the new skinny."  I love that!

I think it is really important for women to be physically strong.  It's good for personal safety.  It's useful for everyday living (picking up children, pushing a stroller, hauling groceries, moving around furniture, etc.).  It's great for confidence and self-esteem.  It's really empowering to be strong.

I didn't come to it in my fitness journey right away.  Like many women, particularly back in the 80s and 90s, I was a typical cardio queen.  Aside from whatever strength training I did in my fitness classes I taught, I didn't spend much time in the weight room.

Around the time I met Adam (in 2000), I was ready to change that.  Adam, who had been lifting weights since he was 13 years old, gave me my first strength training program.  The rest is history.  I fell in love, fully embraced strength training, and two years later got my personal training certification. 

I took up yoga a few years before that in 1998 and have always loved it, however, I have always prioritized cardio over my yoga practice so I haven't been consistent with it.

I still love my cardio.  The only problem is, as I head toward 39 (my birthday is in less than 2 weeks!!), my body is changing.  No matter what I do for cardio, I feel incredibly tight after.  The foam roller has become a necessity.  For the first time in my life, when I wake up on my cardio days, I don't feel like doing it.  It must be age because Adam also is feeling a lot more wear and tear from his workouts and, as he frequently reminds me, he's 2 years younger than I am.  He's even got the girls teasing me about my age!

I have been trying to fit in a few yoga sessions every week, but work has been so busy, it has been next to impossible lately.  So I have decided to try something completely different. My initial plan was to give up 3 of my cardio workouts every week and replace them with yoga.  If, like me, you are a cardio queen (or king), than you know what a big deal this is.  It's a total change of pace...literally!

I thought my mind and body need yoga more than the cardio right now.  I was really curious to see what would happen.  Will this help me manage stress better?  Will I have less muscle tightness?  Will my performance improve on the days that I do cardio or strength training? Will I become completely zen, find nirvana? Or would I go bonkers? I had fantasies of floating around in a state of bliss and finally being able to tie my body up into a pretzel.

So last week I replaced 3 of my cardio workouts with yoga.  To my surprise, all this yoga turned out not to be a good fit for me.  First off, I had TOO MUCH energy all day, so much so, that my mojo was still running high at 10pm and I had difficulty sleeping.  Also, I remembered why I moved away from yoga for a long time and moved to the foam roller: my hamstrings are sensitive to too much deep stretching and all the forward bends left my hamstrings tender for the rest of the day, and not in a good way!

I guess the positives were that since I had a bad cold last week, I gave my body the rest it probably needed.  Also, I purchased a few new yoga DVDs and I like them, so I will add them to my roster for the days I am lucky enough to fit in a practice (I'll try again for 1-2 times per week).  Oh well, I never really liked Lululemon anyways.

So am I going back to my cardio workouts?  Nope.  New plan: After figuring out that strength training is both what I enjoy, what makes me feel best and what fits my priorities the most, I am going to go to a split training schedule.  Right now I've been doing a total body strength training routine 3x week.  Now I am going to do arms and legs 3x week and back, chest and shoulders 2x week.  To get a bit of cardio in, I'll do some skipping or plyo exercises on my arm/leg days (the days that used to be my cardio days).  So here is what my old routine looked like:

Mon - Cardio + abs
Tues - Strength training (full body)
Wed - Cardio + abs
Thurs - Strength training (full body)
Fri - Cardio + abs
Sat - DVD (Insanity, etc.)
Sun - Strength training (full body) + teach spin class

Here is what my new routine looks like:

Mon - Core
Tues - Chest, back and shoulders
Wed - Arms and legs
Thurs - Chest, back and shoulders
Fri - Arms and legs
Sat - DVD (Insanity, etc.)
Sun - Strength training (full body) + teach spin class

So far so good but this morning was only day 1, so I'll keep you posted on how it goes.  Oh, and as promised, I will eventually get around to posting a review of my Asylum DVDs.  I also have some new yoga DVDs to review.

This morning I dug out my Jillian Michaels Six Pack Abs DVD.  I had so much fun!  And that, my friends, is the most important thing here.